The news is full of vicious disturbing images. Some stories lead me to respond with art and others are just paralyzing and sad.
Attack on Beauty
It was in the news that Sergei Filin, Artistic Director of the Bolshoi Ballet, was attacked. Acid was thrown in his face, like schoolgirls in Afghanistan. Much speculation surrounded the incident. Was he attacked by a jealous rival or lover? Although in Afghanistan acid attacks have been the province of men attacking women, on the news, a Russian woman speculated “In Russia men don’t throw acid women do”. She was wrong about it being a crime of passion. The truth came out later but what fascinated me were the images of Sergei Filin gesticulating with his head wrapped in a bandage. His hands were so expressive, a dancer’s hands. I gathered images of him dancing and of the Bolshoi Theatre. The costumes in the photos are fantastic, with shiny sky blues and satin whites fanciful with lace cuffs or sequin trimmings. Bandaged flying Sergei became his own triumphant character on the paper stage. The opulent architecture of the theatre with its many gilded curtained boxes for the audience became a witness and a set in the play.
The images of theatre, stage and curtains reflect the majesty of performance, the box/frame that contains the story, and the revelation of something private and special. The staged world is always played in relation to the world outside the theatre. I am trying to create a dramatic visual narrative that is visceral, empathetic and beautiful. The soaring beauty of ballet with its technical rigor and magical scenes is a perfect representation of beauty. The ballet form once aimed to be living paintings. The poetic violence of blinding someone who strives for, is and creates beauty is a story ballet in pictures. A world blind to art and beauty is a hopeless place
Other influences for attack on beauty:
1. My mother, sister and I all danced. My mother still does.
2. The Boston Ballet’s Nutcracker and being in The Opera House
3. Dancer by Colum McCann
4. Apollos Angels by Jennifer Homans (especially the ballet as live paintings and the story of Mademoiselle Deschamps)